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Tom K. Ara


Global Co-Chair, Media, Sport and Entertainment sector

Co-Chair, Entertainment Transactions practice

Co-Chair, Entertainment Finance practice


Tom K. Ara focuses his practice on entertainment and media industry transactions, both domestic and international. He represents banks, private equity groups, hedge funds, investors and borrowers in financing and strategic industry transactions. In addition, he advises feature film studios, television networks, production companies, Internet and mobile-based content producers and distributors in corporate transactions as well as in the development, production and distribution of feature films, television programs and digital content. Tom's clients also include entertainment, media and technology companies employing new methods and technologies to produce and distribute content and content experiences, including through augmented and virtual reality platforms, as well as financiers and investors active in these areas.

Tom has been involved in a multitude of transactions throughout the world in both traditional media and emerging technologies, representing media companies, financiers and industry participants of all types in financing and strategic industry transactions. Tom has successfully counseled his clients in connection with billions of dollars of complex financing, corporate and M&A transactions involving some of the most successful feature film and television franchises, as well as iconic comic book properties. As one of the early legal pioneers from the West to serve the Asian media and entertainment market, Tom offers valuable insights to his clients, both as a lawyer and as a trustee of the prestigious Washington, DC-based US-Asia Institute. He has also been involved in numerous complex industry transactions involving Europe and the Middle East.

Bar admissionsCalifornia
CourtsUnited States Court of Appeals for the Ninth CircuitUnited States District Court for the Central District of CaliforniaUnited States District Court for the Northern District of CaliforniaUnited States District Court for the Southern District of California


  • Represented a major independent film and television production company in all aspects of a mega-budget multi-year made-for-Internet series deal with a leading SVOD service, covering financing, production and distribution of the series
  • Represented multiple leading entertainment banks in negotiations of financing documentation for single-picture film and television financings, including, the financing of foreign presales contracts, gap financing and tax credits
  • Represented multiple leading entertainment financial institutions and banks in the negotiation of financing agreements in connection with revolving credit facilities for film and television companies
  • Represented a major independent production and sales company in connection with a due diligence exercise and related corporate transactions in anticipation of a strategic sale and/or financing event
  • Represented a major studio in a multi-film, US$500 million co-finance deal with an offshore financing entity
  • Represented online subscription and transaction based content distribution companies in connection with the acquisition of streaming, on-demand and sell-thru distribution rights for various film and television content
  • Represented private equity groups, high-net-worth investor groups and investors in connection with various forms of financings transactions for film and television projects, including projects targeted to the faith-based community
  • Represented a major studio in negotiating slate financing arrangements with several financing partners for investments exceeding US$150 million
  • Represented a Wall Street bank in the sale of a library containing thousands of film and television titles
  • Represented a major film and television distribution company in its acquisition of important distribution rights in a slate of films, the structuring of its investment in a film slate vehicle, and the creation of a co-distribution and co-finance arrangement intended to cover a large and diverse assortment of feature films and television content
  • Represented a Wall Street bank in structuring its relationship with a television network in connection with the exploitation and ownership of one of the most successful television franchises
  • Represented an advertising agency in connection with negotiation, strategy and execution of A-list agreements for brand campaigns as well as brand integration strategies and associated agreements
  • Represented a unique mobile device-based app producer in securing various forms of film and television content for exploitation in connection with the app
  • Represented a major China-based media company in multiple cross-border financing transactions involving film and television projects, including the establishment of a multibillion-dollar studio production facility in China
  • Represented a publicly-traded Chinese media conglomerate in a variety of corporate, M&A and financing transactions with US-based companies, including the acquisition of an iconic comic book company and a joint-venture to finance and operate live location-based attractions in China and throughout Asia based on one of the most successful film studio franchise film properties
  • Represented a China-based investment group in connection with its investment into a location-based virtual reality attraction in the US
  • Represented a major China-based film studio and distributor in several complex cross-border investments in media properties
  • Represented a China-based investment group with the establishment of a joint venture relationship in connection with financing and exploiting the rights to a collection of comic book characters throughout Asia
  • Represented a Hong Kong-based production company owned by a Chinese producer/director in connection with various production, development and distribution matters and the acquisition of English-language properties for production into Chinese-language sequels and remakes
  • Represented European and UK production companies in connection with the sale and development of television formats for US markets
  • Represented a UK-US-based production company owned by an acclaimed television producer in connection with the production, development and distribution of numerous television formats and series
  • Represented a major international distributor in its negotiation with a renowned US producer of a first-look arrangement
  • Represented a film and television fund based in the Middle East in connection with various film, television and music endeavors
  • Represented a major international distributor in the renewal of a multi-year distribution agreement with the owner of a 400-title US film library, which included multiple critically-acclaimed films and box office hits
  • J.D., Loyola Law School Los Angeles 1999
    Editor, Loyola Law Review
  • B.S., San Jose State University 1996


Chambers USA

  • Band 3, California Media & Entertainment: Transactional (2020 – 2024)
  • Up and Coming, California Media & Entertainment: Transactional (2014 – 2016)

The Legal 500 United States

  • Recommended, Media and Entertainment: Transactional (2022 – 2024)
  • Recommended, Media and Entertainment: Litigation (2023)
Additional Recognitions
  • Selected, Variety, "Dealmakers Impact Report," 2009, 2013, 2018, 2020, 2023
  • Selected, The Hollywood Reporter, "Power Lawyers: Top 100 Most Influential Entertainment Lawyers in America," 2015
  • Selected, Variety, "Legal Impact Report," 2015
  • Selected, The Daily Journal, "Top 50 Entertainment Lawyers," 2015
  • Selected, The Daily Journal, "Top 20 Under 40," 2014
  • Featured, Who's Who Legal, The International Who's Who of Sports & Entertainment Lawyers, Public Finance Law, 2013
  • Selected, Variety, "Legal Impact Report," 2012
  • Listed, Law360, "Rising Stars," 2012


  • Author, Closing Arguments "The Synthetic Screen": AI Promises and Challenges, Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine May 2023 Issue, June 6, 2023


  • Lecturer, "Chinese Investments in Hollywood" and "Film Financing," Shanghai University's Film Academy, November 2018
  • Moderator, "The Realities of Entering the Chinese Film Market," Shanghai, China, June 2016
  • Speaker, "American Films Cooperation and Investment," Beijing, China, April 2016
  • Moderator, "Breaking into China: Power Players and Strategic Partnership Opportunities," Cannes, France, May 2015

Media Mentions

Civic and Charitable

  • Visiting Professor, Shanghai Vancouver Film School
  • Editorial Board Member, Los Angeles Lawyer, Los Angeles County Bar Association

Memberships And Affiliations

  • Advisory Board Member, The Blackhouse Foundation
  • Member of Law360's 2021 Media & Entertainment Editorial Board
  • Board Member, Planning Committee, UCLA Entertainment Law Symposium
  • Trustee, US-Asia Institute
  • Member, Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Beverly Hills Bar Association
  • Member, California Bar Association